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Mike McCarthy Hamilton Realtor

The 8 Steps To Selling Your Hamilton Home


deciding when to sell your hamilton homeStep #1: Decide When To Sell Your House


  • Time of year – Do you want to list in a busy season or a slow one? 

  • Current competition in your neighbourhood – Are there many houses available like yours in your neighbourhood or would yours be unique?

  • Current competition in similar neighbourhoods – Similar to above, there are usually 2-3 target neighbourhoods for buyers, so how does your house stand up to similar ones in those neighbourhoods?

  • State of the real estate market – Are interest rates up or down? How is consumer confidence or the economy as a whole? What has the Hamilton market been doing lately?

  • Your personal needs and goals – If you’re moving out of the city or have already bought a new house, then that timing will likely override everything else. Likewise, an upcoming baby, need for live-in nanny, wedding or divorce might dictate your timing too.


Step #2: Get Ready: Declutter, Stage and Clean


  • Make more space from nothing - Declutter, remove personal items, extra armoires and anything that could distract potential buyers. Swap out larger furniture for smaller furniture to make the rooms look bigger. Clear out closets and donate items you don’t use. 

  • Stage it - Buyers have terrible imaginations, so if you have made a couple of bedrooms into offices, make them back into bedrooms. Bedrooms should look like bedrooms, living rooms like living rooms, and so on. 

  • Clean, clean and clean again! - The cleaner your house is, the faster it will sell. Make sure everything sparkles!

  • Curb Appeal - Buyers can show up and instantly be turned off by what they see from their car. Give the outside of your home the attention it deserves.

  • Basement - Buyers love basements. Clear out clutter and make sure that buyers and inspectors can easily reach the electrical panel and furnace. If your basement can be used as a second apartment, make sure that’s obvious to buyers too.

  • The Big Mechanics - The furnace, A/C, hot water tank, electrical, plumbing, roof and insulation are all important: make sure your real estate agent knows every unsexy detail about your house and consider repairs before listing.

  • The Small Repairs - Now is the time to take care of the little things. Hire a handyman for a day and don’t let small issues become big ones.

  • Termites - If you live in a termite area, consider getting a termite inspection. Dealing with any problems before listing your home for sale, or, being able to provide a clean termite report can add real value to your home.

  • Backyard - Consider re-staining the deck, updating your gardens, fixing the fence and getting some stylish patio furniture. If you’re selling your home in the winter, provide summer photos of your yard to your agent!


preparing to sell your hamilton homeStep #3: Get Set: More Prep Work


  • Get your documents together - Take the time to photocopy or scan your heating, electrical and utility and tax bills. Any current warranties and manuals should be gathered too.

  • Make a list of renovations and repairs - Compile a list of all the renovations and repairs that have been completed since you have owned the house.  

  • Make an extra set of keys - You’ll likely have a lockbox at your house so that real estate agents can show your home to their buyers, so make an extra set of keys.

  • Get a pre-list home inspection - Completing a pre-listing home inspection before you put your house on the market will help you identify any issues with the home that might be objections for buyers. Having accurate information puts you in control of how the deficiencies in your house will affect the price you get for the house. If you’re pricing your home for a bidding war, making the pre-listing home inspection available to buyers is advantageous as it will lessen their anxiety about the home and encourage them to make offers.


Step #4: Pricing Your House for Sale


Your realtor will discuss with you the pros and cons of pricing your home for a bidding war vs pricing high with the intent to negotiate vs pricing your home at market value. In the end, buyers will decide how much your home is worth by deciding how much they want to pay for it.


Buyers will consider:


  • Recent sales on your street and in your neighbourhood

  • Recent sales of similar properties in nearby neighbourhoods

  • Properties currently on the market

  • Current market conditions

  • The size, finishes and condition of your home

  • Location – what’s happening in your neighbourhood and how people expect it to change in the short and medium terms


Other things that can be important to Hamilton buyers include:


  • Parking and/or a garage

  • The basement (whether or not it’s finished or can be used as a second apartment)

  • Closets and storage

  • Style (modern vs character, etc.)


digital photography to market a hamilton home for saleStep #5: Marketing


One of your real estate agent’s most important jobs will be making sure potential Buyers see your house. A comprehensive marketing campaign for your house should include both traditional and digital marketing and aim to make people fall in love with your house.


Real estate marketing should include:


  • Photography/Videography – Professional photography is a must! Most buyers will see your home for the first time online, and if the photos and videos don’t capture their attention, they’ll move on to the next house and be lost to you forever. 

  • For Sale Signs – It’s not unusual for buyers to cruise their target neighbourhoods in search of their perfect house, so a For Sale sign on the lawn is always recommended.

  • Open Houses – While curious neighbours will undoubtedly make an appearance, open houses are a great way to showcase your home to real potential Buyers. Depending on your neighbourhood and how well the open house has been promoted, you can expect anywhere from 5 to 100 or more people to attend. Your agent may suggest hosting an open house on Saturday, Sunday or both days, so be prepared to leave your home for 2, 3 or 4 hours. 

  • Online Marketing – With 92% of Buyers starting their search on the web, being found online is critical! And...there’s a lot more to being found online than being listed on realtor.ca. Make sure you’re working with a real estate agent who has heavy buyer traffic on their website and who knows how to use other websites and digital advertisement strategies and tactics to your and your house’s advantage.

  • Email Marketing/Social Media – Top realtors promote their listings to other agents via email and have a network of potential Buyers they can reach via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. You can also help with the sale of your house by sharing the link to your listing too!

  • Print Marketing – Most agents will print feature sheets for your home so that the potential buyers who see it will have a takeaway of information and photos. 

  • Your ideal buyer is out there – They may be first time buyers, the parents of first-time buyers, an international investor, a recent divorcee, a newly married couple, seniors who’ve just sold their family home or a young couple with a baby on the way. Smart real estate agents will go to great lengths to profile your target Buyer and create a marketing campaign to reach them.


Step #6: Showings


When Buyers make an appointment to see your house, keep the following in mind:


  • Leave your house! – There’s nothing more distracting for a buyer than having to walk around the owner.

  • Be flexible with showing times – Most buyers look at properties in the evening or on the weekends.

  • Board the dogs! – Not everyone will love your dog as much as you do. At minimum, crate them during showings. Ideally, take them for a walk or board them.

  • Consider temporarily moving out of your home while it’s for sale – If your home is popular with buyers, you may have 5 or 10 or more showings every day. Going on a weekend getaway or staying at a friends’ or parents’ house can make your life a lot more tolerable.

  • Cleanliness matters! – It isn’t enough to have a clean house on day 1. You’ll need to wash the dishes, make the beds, wash the floors and weed the garden every day while it’s listed for sale.


reviewing offers on your hamilton home​Step #7: Offers


  • Not every house Seller gets a bidding war – While your agent will take you through what to expect come offer time, if there is only one buyer for your house, you can expect to see the following two conditions in an offer:

    • A financing condition, which allows the buyer to confirm their mortgage qualifications with a lender

    • A home inspection condition, which allows the buyer to bring in a home inspector of their choosing to go through the home. Home inspections generally last 2-3 hours.


  • There are more terms than just conditions – There is:

    • Price (of course!)

    • Closing date (the date the Buyer takes possession)

    • Inclusions (appliances, big screen TV’s, etc.); and 

    • Deposit (usually paid within 24 hours of the offer being accepted).


  • Bidding wars (multiple offers) – In a bidding war, offers will often be “firm”, meaning there are no conditions. There are many ways for a bidding war to proceed – your agent will suggest different strategies to help you get the highest price. 


Step #8: Approaching Closing Day


As closing day approaches, you and/or your lawyer will need to make sure to:


  • Inform the utility companies of your impending move (with me it's made simple using MoveSnap)

  • Inform the city so that you don’t continue to pay property taxes

  • Cancel your home insurance (to take effect after you have confirmation that the sale has closed)


A day or two before closing day, you’ll need to visit your lawyer and sign a lot of paperwork. When the property is transferred to the new owner, you will get the money via your lawyer (less real estate commissions, legal fees and any adjustments).


And after all of that, presto! You've sold your home. Nothing to it, right?


Now that you've got a great understanding of all that it takes to sell your home for top dollar, let's have a no obligation chat about selling your home. Just click the button below and book a time right in my schedule. I look forward to talking and learning more about you.


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